Organizing a wedding is a cinch compared to the many challenges facing just married couples. To help you get through that definitive first year of marriage, we’ve consulted Lissy Puno, a Singapore-based counselling psychologist who is also a marriage guru in her own right.
Most just married or soon-to-wed couples are level-headed enough to know that married life is nothing at all like Cloud Nine (operative word: most). But the reality is, you’re never truly prepared for that first fight, first scream fest, or first walk out. So while we might not be there to literally hold your hand through the difficult first year of marriage (we have our own lives you know), we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do as much as we can to help.
Just Married: When the Honeymoon Ends
Marriage is a walk in the park. That is if the park were the Grand Canyon, and you’re forced to carry a 60L backpack while walking barefoot through the whole thing. In short, it’s friggin’ hard!!! And the first year is the hardest. Fights can start even before the honeymoon ends—and over the smallest things too!
“We had our first fight over salted egg. My husband was used to it being sliced, but where I came from, we peeled ours.” – Babes
“I was leaving for a work trip. My wife had taken a dump but the flush wasn’t working. Because I was feeling so much pressure at work, I ended up shouting at her over it. There was a lot of crying. I ended up missing my flight and rebooking for the next day. We laugh so much about it whenever we remember that fight.” – AE
While there are other more understandable reasons for fighting too.
“During our honeymoon, whenever we were going to sleep, my husband would turn his back toward me. I got angry and asked him if he didn’t want to sleep next to me. But he had just been used to sleeping on his side his whole life.” – Tin
“He forgot to pay his credit card bill. I’m very OC with managing finances. I couldn’t believe he could forget such an important personal task.” – Kitin
Whether it be petty or not, the truth of the matter is this: just married couples will fight. Over and over again. We asked Lissy about her thoughts on the challenges that newlyweds (and even older couples) face.
Lissy explains that, because life spans have extended, there is also a greater challenge for couples to stay attracted to each other for longer. But with many distractions as well as an individualistic world view, couples often end up feeling disillusioned and even bored with the relationship.
“Much more work is needed to maintain the love, care, and intimacy [in a marriage]. After the wedding, the marriage begins and a lot of couples ask, ‘What now?’ They may need to deepen healthy and mature relational skills to keep their marriage safe and strong.”
1. Technology and Social Media
It’s funny how technology has made it easier for us to communicate with each other. (Holler to all the LDR couples out there!) But having so many gadgets and social media accounts can also be a hindrance to the relationship.
2. Werk, werk, werk
Life is so dynamic, what with flourishing careers and businesses as well as the demands of home making and child-rearing. But busyness also often becomes a distraction and an excuse from focusing on the relationship.
3. A Too Demanding Social Life
Especially in the Philippines where we have a strong family culture, your separate social lives can be very demanding. Chances are that they were already like that prior to marriage too. Aside from your families of origin, there are also your friends and a work culture that extends beyond office hours. While maintaining all these relationships is important, it can sometimes result in taking away the couple’s focus on each other.
4. Me Before You
In a marriage, you have two individuals coming together as one amid their differences. Or at least, that’s how it should work ideally. But most couples are stumped as to how they can form a strong sense of “WE” in the relationship. And that’s understandable because neither of you have done this before! But there’s a need to know how to communicate more healthily, especially when your many differences start emerging.
Whether you’re just married, soon-to-wed, or have been married for N years, you might encounter one or all of the challenges Lissy shared above in the span of your couple life. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What matters most is recognizing that there are doable ways to get your #MarriageGoals.
Stay tuned for Lissy’s tips on how just married couples can face these common challenges by recovering their connection with each other!
Lissy Puno is a Singapore-based counselling psychologist and author of the book, “Affairs Don’t Just Happen”, as well as creator of the journal “Stay Connected”. She works with couples in her practice and also offers couples weekend workshops called, “Getting the Love You Want” which will finally have its first run in the Philippines in July 2018.
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